If your home is like most, you and your family are using about 45 gallons of hot water each day. If your water heater is electric, that probably accounts for about 18 percent of your power bill. That makes your water heater the second-largest energy expense in your home. So, why not use less electricity to heat it?
Today's high-efficiency water heaters use much less energy than older models, so you won't need to give up comfort for energy savings. That's good news for your power bills.
Now, there's a new kid in town; an electric heat pump water heater. These units give you the hot water you need by pulling heat from the surrounding air to heat water - like a refrigerator in reverse.
Because they do not directly produce heat, electric heat pump water heaters are two to three times more efficient than standard units. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a family of four can save about $350 a year on water heating costs, which adds up to $3,750 over the lifetime of the unit.
A heat pump water heater may cost a bit more upfront than you'd pay for the other models. However, most people see a payback in less than three years due to the unit's lower operating costs and energy savings. That's according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR rating.
Tankless electric water heaters are another option, but think about these things before buying: While these units quickly heat water to provide it when called upon, they can use 8 times more electricity at one time than a standard water heater. This high demand increases your cooperative's cost of purchased power, which plays an important role in how much you pay for electricity. In some cases, people who use electric tankless water heaters have to upgrade the home's wiring to support the huge demand for electricity.
Before you buy a new water heater, speak with WFEC's trusted energy experts about your choices.
Other ways to lower your energy costs include setting your water heater's thermostat no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit - this reduces energy use and protects against scalding. Fixing leaks, installing low-flow fixtures, and using energy efficient dishwashers and washing machines can also help you conserve water and energy. Many washers and dishwashers allow you to schedule when those appliances operate and have energy-saving settings, so this is also something you can try. Consider washing your clothes in cold water, and shortening showers to help keep water heating costs low.
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Energy Efficiency Tip
Did you know that 90% of the energy used to operate a washing machine comes from using hot water? Switch from hot to cold to save!